womanToday is the 16th of December and the biggest holiday of the year is growing ever closer.

In between decorating, shopping, and being busier than I should be work-wise, I’ve had little time to read lately.  Well, let me put it this way:  Time I used to spend reading, I’m now spending more and more of it in other ways.

I wonder what’s up with that?  Is it me?

Well, to a certain extent, I think so. But to a certain extent, not.

I just can’t get excited about yet another Regency featuring yet another Miss and yet another wallpaper duke.

Ditto paranormal  and those fated mates.

And spare me from all those small towns are the bestest places in the whole wide world brand of contemporaries.

And, for anyone who might suggest that category romances might fit the bill, as someone posted on an AAR message board a few months ago, when did millionaires get replaced by billionaires?  Greek (b)millionaires, Spanish and Italian aristos, it’s all just the same old.

Lynn wrote here a few weeks ago about how she is looking less and less to the Harlequin Historical line for differing settings and characters and it came up in the comments that it wasn’t her imagination – the line itself was becoming more and more homogenized.

I’ve heard the same from authors here in the U.S. – that they are being instructed by their publishers to deliver what they know will sell.  If you want to take chances, then you can get yourself another publisher.

Okay, so you have publishers who, apparently, are getting stricter and stricter in what they’ll publish.  You have writers who deliver the same old, same old – or else.

And then you have the brave new world of ePublishing.  But,  honestly, I’d have a hard time trying a writer who hadn’t earned herself a name in New York – those are the writers who, I think, really have the option of successfully going rogue, as my friend Connie Brockway puts it.

Lisa Kleypas continues to hold my attention, ditto Connie Brockway, Meredith Duran, and Sherry Thomas.  But how many books can they publish?  Not enough for me.

So, consider this my lament.  I’m tired of what’s out there right now and I’m sick of same old, same old.   There are a few highlights for me, but a lot of cold, dark months in between.

Perhaps it’s partially a product of the economy.  Publishers are less willing to take chances on the unknown.  But if you don’t try, then how will you know?  (So you tried once, why not try again, hmmm?) My guess is that there’s a vastly underestimated group of readers who will welcome new with open arms.

Publishers have always been sluggish to respond to trends –  with editorial timetables the way they stand now, it makes it next to impossible to do so.  Frankly, I’m not hopeful.

Which leaves ePublishing.  This brave new world really has the chance to take the reins now.  I hope they do.  I really, really hope they do.

In the meantime, I wait.  And watch TV.

– Sandy AAR

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